Recently, I had the great honor of participating in The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, a global book arts’ response to the car bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on March 5, 2007.
Beau Beausoleil founded this amazing project as a call to book artists to react to this horrific event. “On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. Al-Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.” Beau teamed up with the also-amazing Sarah Bodman in asking book artists to join the project and further enhance the work of the Coalition by creating work that holds both “memory and future,” exactly what was lost that day. You can learn more about the project here.
My book for this project is titled Pages Reign. It is a miniature painted book (meaning that it is 3 x 3 x 3 inches or less) created in an edition of just four copies. Three are being sent to the project and one for my own archives.
Here’s the text of the poem that I wrote for this book:
When pages reign, freedom reigns.
When pages reign, thought reigns.
When pages reign, words reign.
Words spread. Pages fly.
When pages rain, freedom dies.
Bombs blare. Children fear.
When pages rise again, hearts rise.
Pages reign. Pages rise.
Thank you Beau and Sarah and all of the other artists who participated in this project, cheered each other on and created a heart-warming tribute to so many lives and freedoms that were cut much too short.